Although the iPhone X, the iPhone 8, and 8 Plus were definitely the highlights of Apple's Sept. 12 event, the company also announced updated versions of the Apple Watch and Apple TV. Thanks to several hardware and software improvements, both devices just got more useful for business professionals.
Apple Watch Series 3 gets cellular connectivity
The new Apple Watch Series 3 is getting a barometric altimeter, dual-core processor that's 70-percent faster than the previous model, and a new Apple W2 wireless chip that provides 85 percent faster Wi-Fi and is 50 percent more power efficient. Apple's new timepiece definitely needs that efficiency boost as it's also getting built-in cellular connectivity.
I've owned an Apple Watch since its release in 2015. I wouldn't say it's an essential piece of tech for the average person, but I've always found it a useful addition to my iPhone, particularly during the work day. It's a handy way to get calendar notifications, respond quickly to text messages, and screen phone calls. I also use it as a two-factor authentication tool and to make purchases with Apple Pay.
The new LTE modem makes it even more functional as owners will no longer need to stay within Bluetooth range of their iPhones. They'll also be able to make and receive phone calls, hear Siri's responses, and starting in October, stream Apple Music. You need AirPods to actually hear the music as the watch won't have a headphone jack. No word on if you can use other Bluetooth headphones or speakers.
The Apple Watch Series 3 will have an electronic SIM and use the same phone number as the iPhone it's paired with. Apple claims the watch will offer up to 18-hours of battery life, but I suspect it will depend on how heavily you use the cellular connection. There's no word yet on how much carriers will charge to add an Apple Watch to an existing plan.
The new watch will run Apple's WatchOS 4 operating system. Like its predecessor, the Apple Watch Series 3 is waterproof and has GPS. The size and shape of the watch's body also remain virtually unchanged.
Pricing for the new cellular models start at $399 (38mm) and $429 (42mm). Apple will also sell GPS-only models for $329 (38mm) and $359 (42mm). You can preorder the Apple Watch Series 3 beginning Friday, Sept. 15. The watch will be available on Sept. 22 in the US and UK, and on Oct. 5 in Australia.
Apple TV 4K gets A10X Fusion chip (same as the iPad Pro)
You might not immediately think of the Apple TV as a business device, but thanks to AirPlay, it's a handy way to deliver presentations and share content from a MacBook, iPad, or iPhone. If you're a company with lots of Apple hardware, setting up an Apple TV in your conference rooms can be a cheaper alternative than using a Mac mini or PC. A host of hardware upgrades could make it an even more useful business tool.
The new Apple TV 4K will be powered by Apple's A10X Fusion processor. This is the same chip in the iPad Pro, and it will deliver twice the CPU performance and four times the graphics performance as the current Apple TV. The 4K will have HDMI 2.0a ports and output video at a resolution of 3,820x2,160-pixels. It will also support Dolby Vision and HDR10. The box's connectivity hardware was also upgraded. It has Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO and simultaneous 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and Bluetooth 5.0.
The Apple TV 4K will cost $179 for 32GB of storage and $199 for 64GB. Buyers in the UK will pay £179 and £199 and in Australia the models will be AU$249 and AU$279. Like the Apple Watch Series 3, you can preorder the 4K starting Sept. 15 and units will begin shipping on Sept. 22.
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Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.